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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

If any of you HC readers follow Cassey Ho (also known on YouTube and social media platforms as Blogilates) as much as I do, you would have seen a video she uploaded over the last few weeks and I would forgive you, if you felt a little confused after watching it. Many of you possibly would have been outraged and even would have started to question how easily we believe everything we are told on social media. In her video entitled, ‘Why I WILL NEVER diet again’, Cassey speaks openly and honestly about her struggles with her eating disorder over the past 3 years.



In the video Cassey goes on to explain that around 3 years ago she took part in a bikini competition, in which she had to train for 4 hours a day and she was only allowed to eat a select number of foods which made up to 1000 calories. As a personal trainer herself, Cassey knew this was not a sensible idea, yet followed the orders of her professional helper who encouraged her to eat less and train harder as the contest quickly approached. Throughout the video Cassey tells her audience that she should have known better, and that her viewers would expect her to have fought back against this trainer. However she didn’t and her ED took control.

As a public figure, with over 2.8 million subscribers on YouTube, Cassey received a lot of criticism from her viewers after the bikini contest was over and she could no longer sustain her training regime nor her extreme diet. The main comment was that she was gaining weight and under the influence of her ED Cassey could only think of one possible solution- to continue eating less and working out more.

What is most striking throughout this time is that Cassey continues to promote her ‘clean-eating’ approach to health and moderate daily exercise plans. She remains bubbly and full of positivity in her videos and sells products and workouts to her viewers, striking the question of whether we can believe what anyone on YouTube is telling us.

Instagram star, Essena O’Neill famously came out saying that everything we see on the Internet is a lie; in most cases bloggers and YouTubers are being paid to promote products, which they don’t believe in and are most of the time they can be detrimental to our health. Think of the number of teatox ads you see daily. In 2015, Essena told us that the viewers of YouTube videos and followers on Instagram are seen only as money-makers, or as consumers.

Now, in 2016 it is very interesting to think about whether or not public figures and celebrities who use social media should carry a responsibility to try to protect their followers and be as honest and transparent with their viewers as possible. For many YouTubers (including the many young teenagers with channels who have more followers than the population of Scotland) they take this responsibility very lightly, and on occasion I have happened to come across statements in videos which are very concerning and would definitely have had an effect on me, if I was younger and less confident in my sense of self.

We must ask ourselves who regulates these videos and who protects the viewers from believing Cassey’s story of health and vitality when it seems it was so far from the truth for many years. 

Both images from Google. The second image has been photo-shopped and is from Blogilate’s ‘Perfect Body’ video. 

You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZGL6rCDyXo

4th year Undergrad, studying German and Linguistics.Proud Beret wearer and lover of all things monochrome.
Laura Rennie is currently a fifth year Diploma in Legal Practice student at the University of Aberdeen. After four years studying in the Granite City she couldn't quite drag herself away from it so decided to stick around for one more year. Previously a features writer and secretary of Her Campus Aberdeen when it was founded, she is now very excited to be captaining the little pink ship this year. She loves cups of tea, fairy lights, musicals, trashy TV and is a blogger and member of Her Campus Blogger Network in her spare time.